tv The Situation Room CNN February 26, 2013 4:00pm-7:00pm EST
on wood in positive territory right under the 14,000 market, 13,900. you can check this latest numbers on the dow go to cnnmoney.com. i now to wolf blitzer. >> happening now, record snowfall collapsing roofs and tens of thousands of people without power. how much longer will this blizzard, this storm be a threat? also in a few minutes u.s. senate expected to vote on chuck hagel president obama's controversial nominee for defense secretary. we'll bring to it live. more on what's going on in egypt right now. a holt air balloon carrying lots of tourists explodes and plummets to the ground. we're finding out how this could happen. we're going live to egypt. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
we begin with the huge winter storm, the national weather service is now calling historic. cities like amarillo, texas, wichita, kansas have broken snowfall records. 45 million in 21 states are being affected one way or another. the storm is blamed for at least three deaths. look at this. it's even dangerous after the storm blows away. in kansas city, the heavy wet snow is causing roofs to collapse. nobody was hurt in this building. but the snow is also bringing down tree limbs on to power lines. in kansas city thousands of people are reported without power. george, what's going on? >> reporter: this is par for the course here in the midwest. this is the second time in a week that this region has been
hit by a big winter storm and as you mentioned it has proven to be deadly storm killing thee people and we see as crews try to clear these roads, unfortunately more snow is in the forecast here. snowplows hit the streets of kansas city tuesday to wage war against mother nature. this city on the kansas/missouri border could see up to a foot of snow from the massive blizzard before it ends. lindsay spent much of his day shoveling. >> heavy and wet and we're just trying to get it up. >> reporter: the heavy wet snow has made getting around difficult whether it's behind the wheel or on foot. most of these major interstate highways are passable through missouri and kansas and mainly because of these snowplow teams. they've been going through the night to make sure drivers are safe on the roads and we've seen very few drivers out here. most of the people is going at a snail's pace. though we did see several accidents along the way, drivers
who may have been going too fast and ultimately lost control. falling branches wreaked havoc on the power storm and look what happened to a building's roof in bellton, missouri when cameras rolled. elsewhere in kansas, a 100 year record in wichita is no more. that area has now seen 21 inches of snow for february, taking down the old mark in just six days. the huge snowstorm has started to ease up in the texas panhandle now making its way northeast. check out these amazing images shot by a cnn ireporter just outside amarillo on monday. parts of the texas panhandle saw 19 inches of snow monday, forcing out the tow trucks in white out conditions. and from the ground to the air no snow but plenty of wind was on hand to whip around planes at the san antonio international airport. gusts hit more than 54 miles per
hour at the airport, fortunately no injuries were reported. back in kansas city people just want a break from all the snowfall. >> it's been a long seven days, ten days something like that. i'm ready to go home. >> reporter: so, wolf, the worst of it has hit us here in kansas city, missouri and the system don't track to the north-northeast up towards chicago, michigan and canada and we also know that the storm is weakening according to our meteorologists. >> doesn't look like much traffic behind you, george. are people pretty much still hunkered down in kansas city? >> reporter: you don't find too many people on the roads. a lot of people are heeding that warning to stay inside. i can tell you the roads, the highways are passable. a lot of the side streets, they are clear as well because of the snowplows that have been going through. the concern is as we see the snow melt, as we see water turn to ice tonight when temperatures drop that the commute in the
morning could be an icy mess. >> could be indeed. george, thank you. how much punch is left in this storm? let's bring in our meteorologist chad myers over at the cnn severe weather center. what's the forecast? >> well the forecast is for still the rain to steal the moisture from the snow. that didn't happen in texas and didn't happen in kansas but it's happening now. so the big numbers like 21 inches like we saw in parts near amarillo, texas that's done. we won't see those numbers any more. snow from chicago back to des moines and omaha, heaviest snow is very close to chicago right now. it snowed in chicago all night long. winter storm warnings are here from des moines back over to peoria. the snow still coming down in kansas city but light at best. heavy stuff is certainly around chicago and it snows all night. our desk calling me will we get planes in and out of chicago
yes? probably. we won't get ethical all. snow is stretching across and snow in chicago will last another eight to 1 hours. even if it's half an inch of snow an hour it piles up. >> we'll see what happens. chad thanks. jason carroll is in peoria. we'll gate live report in our next hour. don't forget you can get the latest forecast, radar images on cnn.com/weather or on your cnn smartphone app. now we turn to the name calling and political spinning that's monopolizing official washington today. we're only three days away from the forced budget cuts everyone is warning will be a disaster for regular people's lives, and for the u.s. economy. even though president obama insists he isn't trying to play the blame game he is in full campaign mode right now. let's bring in our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin with the latest.
>> reporter: the president was trying to drive home the impact these forced budget cuts would have by visiting one of the places that might feel them most quickly a shipyard in virginia. while he was there he insisted that jobs and the economy are on the line, basically because house republicans are simply too stubborn to negotiate. listen. >> i have to be honest with you. there are too many republicans in congress right now who refuse to compromise even an inch when it comes to closing tax loopholes and special interest tax breaks. and that's what's holding things up right now. >> reporter: well as you know the president wants a combination of both tax increases as well as spending cuts to help avoid this trigger that's going to happen at the end of the week, but in his comments he said his door is open and he's willing to negotiate but in his larger speech he really did sound like a man who was ready for battle
rather than getting ready for peace. >> any sign of a deal, perhaps, initiative coming from congress as far as the white house is concerned, jessica? >> reporter: big n-o. talk about the blame game. it was in full swing on capitol hill today. with house republican leader speaker boehner using some language we would have to call rated pg-13 against the senate and the senate democratic leader firing back. listen to this exchange. >> we have moved the bill in the house twice. we should not have to move a third bill before the senate gets off their ass and begins to do something. >> you heard that word. apparently we don't have the sound bite from majority leader harry reid but he said he grew up in a town filled with brothels. you know he's from nevada near las vegas area and so he's used to quote salty language and so this didn't offend him but he said, wolf, that the speaker
should know who is sitting on their posterior. if this is the language they are using before the cuts go into effect this may be a more exciting story. >> how effective has the president been in delivering this hard hitting message basically totally blaming the republicans for refusing to compromise? >> well, the goal here is to make this really feel, make americans realize how much this will hit home and how much the budget cuts will impact their own pocketbook. the latest polling shows that's had mixed results. right now 60, 6-0 percent of americans believe these forced spending cuts will hurt the overall economy. only 30% think it will have a major impact on their own personal finances. and politicians, insiders, both democrats and republicans tell me they think more americans have to really feel it in the pocketbook before democrats and republicans come together to cut a deal. >> now we know the president did
reach out to two leading senate republicans john mccain, lindsey graham, invited them to come over to the white house todays on -- today to talk about immigration reform but he wants to talk about sequester these forced budget cuts. what's going on. has that meeting yet taken place? >> reporter: that meeting was scheduled to take place about half hour ago. we were told by the white house that the meeting could cover a range of topics so that could include immigration. these budget cuts. and perhaps other topics that have come up on capitol hill recently. who knows maybe foreign affairs and other issues. so presumably it's going on right now and i'll give you a read out as soon as we have it. >> brief us on what happens. i'm curious to see how much of an effort there was made by the president and these two
republican senators to work out a deal, perhaps at least start a negotiation during these final three days to avert these forced spending cuts. >> we were told when the president called john mccain, senator mccain last week that's when the idea of this meeting came up and so the president invited them over. so we criticized the president a lot for not doing outreach and having meetings here's an instance where he did follow up and having meetings now. >> let's see if the president inactivities the house speaker over. we'll watch for that. thanks very much. just two days before pope benedict leaves the papacy we're finding out much more about his future. also what he'll be called. christiane amanpour is standing by in rome. if chuck hagel gets confirm what will his first few days at the pentagon look like. there's new information coming in to "the situation room" right
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today vatican officials revealed new details about what happens after the pope's resignation takes effect the day after tomorrow. keep the name benedict xvi. still addressed as his holiness and have the official title pope emeritus. benedict won't wear the fisherman's ring which will be destroyed which is what happens when a pope dies. the ring is a symbol of the papacy and a reminder of st. peter who was a fisherman. benedict will wear white but stop wearing his red shoes and switch to a pair of brown shoes. rome is filling up with pilgrims as well as church leaders the next two days will be filled with very elaborate good-bye
ceremonies for this pope. our chief international correspondent christiane amanpour is joining us from rome right now. walk us through, what can we expect over the next 48 hours? >> reporter: well, i will tell you i'm right now standing just outside st. peter's square. you can see it's pretty empty except for pedestrians. 12 hours from now it will be packed. that's the pope's final pomp and circumstance, his final general audience. we'll do it in st. peter's square. he'll go around st. peter's square in that popemobile and they expect tens of thousands of pilgrims to be there. we'll have it live on cnn. this is his final official public audience and then the next day he prepares to leave. today we're told that he has spent the day in prayer, that he spent the day receiving good wishes from leaders around the world and packing up. because 8:00 p.m. thursday rome time his papacy ends and we go
into what's known as the empty see and after that will the cardinals be called to start to meet and then they probably will have their first formal meeting on monday and only after monday will we know when they call an convene the conclave to elect the new pope. >> once they convene that conclave, a week, two weeks we have no idea how long it takes until we see that white smoke meaning there's a new pope. >> that's exactly right. look i was standing in precisely the same place back in 2005, eight years ago when pope john paul ii died and we went into the conclave which finally produced pope benedict xvi. that took a week and several false starts. when they can't come to a consensus you have the black smoke emanating from that special chimney in st. peter's and then finally the white smoke and then you don't even know who it is until the archbishop deacon cardinals deacon comes to the window and announces a new
pope and only after that the new pope comes to the within to and is greeted. but that was still at least two weeks away. at least tweaks away from that being finalized. >> is the italian media still all over the scandals that are going on involving sex and intrigue, all that stuff that we've seen in those rome newspapers over the past few days, or have they moved on? >> well, they pretty much moved on. that of course was a big story over the weekend and into monday, the beginning of this week. as you can imagine it drove the vatican mad. they were really angry, angry with the press for writing about it, angry for people picking it up and running with it. the fact is that, you know, we had to due diligence and everybody reported about it. i spoke to a very plugged in, one of the best italian reporters at work today who has really been watching the vatican for 20 years, he's written a signature book on the papacy of pope benedict xvi and on that
particular scandal he said he believed it wasn't the case. however, because of this vatican leak scandal where the pope's butler came out and made allegations about financial corruption, about other misdeeds inside the vatican because of that three cardinals were charged with investigating alleged misdeeds. they yesterday handed the results of their investigation to the pope. and he will hand it on to his successor. it's not yet public. wolf? >> we'll be watching what happens over the next few days. christiane amanpour will be on the scene and join us tomorrow here on "the situation room" as well. thank you. this important programming note for our viewers tonight on anderson cooper 360 a cardinal involved in a major sex abuse scandal gets to help select the next pope. so how can that possibly happen? "ac360" will investigate. that's tonight, 8:00 p.m. eastern only here on cnn. a scary moment historic
moment i should say is unfolding right now in north korea. an american is expected to meet with the country's new leader kim jong-un for the first time. he's not a diplomat. he's not a lawmaker. he's a basketball player and you might not believe who it is. i w sprint direct connect. so i can get three times the coverage. [ manager 2 ] it's like working in a giant sandbox. with all these huge toys. and with the fastest push-to-talk... i can keep track of them all. [ male announcer ] upgrade to the new "done" with access to the fastest push-to-talk and three times the coverage. now when you buy one kyocera duraxt rugged phone for $69.99, you'll get four free. other offers available. visit a sprint store, or call 855-878-4biz. [ male announcer ] we began with the rx. ♪ then we turned the page, creating the rx hybrid. ♪
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the nasdaq and s&p 500 were also up. wall street might have taken note of head chief ben bernanke's comments. he defended the fed's stimulus policies but warned the looming forced budget cuts could slow the sluggish u.s. economy. jack lew is one step closer to becoming treasury secretary. he's a full senate vote away from confirmation. that's expected to happen tomorrow. in other news, oscar pistorius healed private memorial service for girlfriend reeva steenkamp tonight. it's been more than a week since he was charged with willing her. his family revealed plans for the memorial after news leaked to the south african media. a statement released by the family said the service was his own idea. he said he shot her by accident because he thought she was an intruder. a historic moment in north korea today. believe it or not, yes, that is dennis rodman. he arrived there for a visit
along with the harlem globetrotters. dennis rodman might become the first american to visit with north korea's new leader kim jong-un. they are letting him send tweets like this one, i'm not a politician, kim junk one and north korean people are basketball fans. i love everyone. period. end of story. so pretty interesting. there's dennis rodman. >> can you believe dennis rodman is in pyongyang together with the harlem globetrotters. they love basketball in north korea. i was there two years ago, a little bit more than two years ago and i could see even when i was there speaking to north koreans and one of the north korean officials who greeted him there at the airport in pyongyang was one of my greeters when i arrived there as well. they love basketball. you know what? when madeleine albright went to pyongyang during the clinton administration one of the gifts she presented kim jong-un's
father, kim jong-il, she brought a basketball signed by michael jordan to north korea and that basketball by all accounts i heard it when i was there and a lot of north koreans have pointed it out, they venerate, they love michael jordan. they love basketball. kim jong-il the father really loved it. the son obviously loves it as well. so there is a certain logic to why dennis rodman and the harlem globetrotters are in pyongyang right now. >> you know what i bet anything too they will get a basketball and have all of those players sign so the same way they have the michael jordan basketball they will have this glob trotters, harlem globetrotters basketball side-by-side. >> kim jong-il now the dead father he loved that basketball. madeline albright, i invited her to come on the show today to talk about when she presented
that basketball to kim jong-il. kim jong-un now has dennis rodman in pyongyang. we're keeping a close eye on capitol hill. any minute the u.s. senate should begin voting on president obama's controversial nomination of chuck hagel to be defense secretary. we'll go there live right after the break. later we'll also go live to egypt and that site of that horrifying accident that brought down a hot air balloon. female a] from tracking the bus. ♪ to tracking field conditions. ♪ wireless is limitless. there's nothing like our grilled lobster and lobster tacos. the bar harbor bake is really worth trying. [ male announcer ] get more during red lobster's lobsterfest. with the year's largest selection of mouth-watering lobster entrees. like our delicious lobster lover's dream, featuring two kinds of succulent lobster tails. or our savory, new grilled maine lobster and lobster tacos. it's back, but not for long. [ woman ] our guests go crazy for lobsterfest.
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leon panetta. the bruising fight over his confirmation could cause some serious problems when he takes over the defense department. let's bring in our pentecost correspondent barbara starr. a lot of people are concerned, barbara, as you well know he could be tainted because almost all of the republicans will vote against this confirmation. >> reporter: well, that's right, wolf. we do expect, however, as you said within the coming hours to have a new secretary of defense. but chuck hagel is about to plunge into that looming budget crisis which his own military commander says is one of their top worries. the pentagon battle plan is ready for chuck hagel's first hours in office. >> there is too much work to be done, too many priorities on the table, too many issues to be addressed, too many threats looming for a national security to get bogged down in the recent past. >> reporter: cnn has learned one of the first priorities is to meet with defense department
civilians. some 800,000 are facing furloughs under forced spending cuts. the new secretary's joint chiefs of staff says the potential $46 billion in cuts is a security nightmare. hagel has little time to lobby congress for change. he also plans to travel overseas soon after taking over. the pentagon knows hagel needs to publicly show he's in charge after a lackluster performance at best during his confirmation hearing. >> name one person in your opinion who is intimidated by the israeli lobby in the united states senate? >> well, first -- >> name one. >> i don't know. >> please have a seat. >> reporter: the burden is on the secretary from the first day to show he isn't now damaged political goods for the president on capitol hill. >> he's got to go in there over prepared, very aggressive, and willing to take on the hard questions in a way he seemed
reluctant to do during his confirmation process. >> reporter: and so the pentagon promises part of the hagel plan is to work with his congressional opponents. >> he is going to come in with a philosophy that he's is going to be a team player inside this building. and that will extend to the united states congress. >> reporter: but some remain unconvinced. >> we should not be installing a defense secretary who obviously is not qualified for the job. >> reporter: now many will tell you that what hagel needs to do now, the minute he's confirmed is to score some points on the board, if you will, wolf. not to show that he's a team player but to show congress and his troops that he is fully in charge. wolf? >> stand by for a moment, because i want to go to dana bash. dana i take it the roll call has begun on the senate floor? >> reporter: it just started a little more than a minute ago. senators are still making their
way to the floor. it might go longer than what it's supposed to be. what we're watching for if any of the 18 republicans, that's right 18 republicans after chuck hagel got so much criticism any of those voted to let this nomination go through if they actually vote for his confirmation which is a very different vote. that's what we're watching for. 51 is all that's need p.m. straight up or down vote and we'll tell you what happens when we get to it. >> doesn't look like any democrats will vote against him. so there are 55 if you add the two independents who caucus with the democrats. this is basically a done deal. >> right. >> now that they failed this filibuster, for all practical purposes he's about to be confirmed. >> that's exactly right. the issue is not whether the votes are there. he is expected to be confirmed. the question is more of a political one, and more of a question of, you know, how he does his job as barbara was just talking about, given the fact that he has been so beaten and
bruised politically here. whether or not he will get some support from republicans that could potentially determine the kind of relationship he has with congress which is very important for the defense secretary as barbara was just talking about especially with these cuts coming to the defense department. >> usually barbara starr, usually a defense secretary at least recently has been also unanimously confirmed by the senate, maybe two or three people vote against but usually it's almost unanimous if you take a look at bob gates or william cohen or leon panetta in recent times. this will be pretty extraordinary. >> reporter: i think that's absolutely right, wolf. what are we talking about here? maybe some 15 republicans recently signing a letter, i believe, that's the number saying that they were worried about that very point. this pentagon has a long history, as you know, of essentially being bipartisan, that the priority is always the country's national security.
that's kind of a different -- there's a change in atmosphere now. we have seen the republicans move to hold up several nominations, john brennan for cia, chuck hagel, questions that they have raised about the attack in benghazi, libya. questions about access to information from the white house. a lot of questions for chuck hagel about his position on everything from israel to iran. so, a lot of republicans have really been making the political point that they want to exert what political muscle they have. now the burden is on hagel here. can he deal with that? if they keep coming after him how will he deal with that. he had a lot of problems during that confirmation hearing. he has to show a very different face now. >> he's got have a major challenge ahead of him. we'll see how many republicans vote to confirm. we'll see if any democrats reject that confirmation. let us know when the roll call is done and we'll have you back
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the martin family. thank you for joining us. once again our deepest condolences to what happened to your son. tracey, let me start with you. what's it like on this first anniversary. what your and your family going through? >> today is actually a day of sorrow for me and my family. as today marks the one year anniversary that trayvon was taken away from us. but we as a family even though we're hurt we know that we must continue to move forward and try to pursue justice for trayvon. >> and we know, natalie, let me bring you into this conversation, that in april at some point they could rule, there cube court ruling saying the stand your ground law in florida applies in this case. could that possibly throw out the entire case, the criminal case against george zimmerman? >> yes, wolf that's exactly what
would happen. in florida, if you win your stand your ground hearing then that means there's no criminal prosecution nor a chance for a civil, any civil remedy. >> you couldn't even separately go down the road and file a civil case against george zimmerman? >> that's correct. if he wins the stand your ground hearing. immunity hearing >> you're an attorney from that area. what's the prospect? >> from our perspective it's not realistic. we had, from the beginning i think the protests and outcry was the fact that george zimmerman had not been arrested. based on the fact that our legal team and many other legal advisors didn't believe stand your ground applied to george zimmerman in his situation. we had the authors of the bill and the legislation of florida who came out and said that this legislation did not apply to george zimmerman. simply because he followed trayvon martin. >> so assuming it didn't apply,
then the actual trial would begin when? >> it will begin in june. >> so it would begin very, very soon. are you guys ready? >> well, we're not prosecuting it. i believe the prosecution is ready. i believe they have everything. the defense has asked for a continuance. their last continuance request was denied. they could possibly still get another continuance but right now the trial is set for june. >> tracey, what your hoping the country will learn from the experience, the awful experience that you've gone through with the loss of your son? >> well basically we hope the country learns that in any type of killing or shooting when you have an unarmed teen, whether he be white, black, hispanic, it doesn't matter, when you have a dead child on the ground and an individual who was told to not pursue the child, there needs be some type of ramifications.
there should have been an arrest at that point. and what america needs to learn is that all children lives are of equal value and we can't place value higher on one ethnic group more than the other. >> all people are the same. there's no doubt about that. >> exactly. >> tracey, i know this is a painful subject but i want our viewers to know something additional about your son trayvon. what do you miss most about him? >> just miss -- i miss everything about him. nothing in particular. he was like my best friend. i missed the times we shared going to the ballpark, just spending time with each other, being around each other. and just to have his life cut short, it means -- it's hurtful. here it is, it's february and we're supposed to be preparing for his graduation and his prom
coming in june and we're preparing for a trial, a murder trial. so it's very hurtful not to have him here. and every day just missing his smile, just missing him saying i love you, just missing me telling him that i love him. i miss that. >> our deepest condolences to you tracey and your entire family and natalie thanks to you as well for joining us. i'm sure we will continue this conversation. >> thank you, wolf. important programming note. later tonight on piers morgan, piers will speak to the defense attorney for george zimmerman. 9:00 p.m. eastern only here on cnn. chuck hagel the confirmation vote is now under way. the role call continuing on the floor of the united states senate. little doubt he'll be confirmed. we're anxious to see, those what the vote will be, how many republicans will vote to kwurm
him. will any democrats vote to reject this nomination. stand by. that final tally should be known very soon. also other news. a hot air balloon accident in egypt killing 19 people. when we come back we'll take a close look at what could have caused the explosion that brought down the balloon. [ female announcer ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all? it's lots of things. all waking up. connecting to the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ it's going to be amazing. and exciting.
>> reporter: well we're learning more about this hot air balloon crash and the details that are emerging, wolf, are absolutely chilling opinion based on what we've learned at least at one point most of these tourists on this hot air balloon they knew they were going to die but there was very little they could do. they were aboard this hot air balloon, it was descending rapidly, it was on fire, they had split second whether to jump out or stay in. new details emerging, government officials say this hot air balloon was about 12 feet away from landing in safety but something went terribly wrong, landing cable crashed into a gas tube, there was a fire, the balloon started ascending again. that's when they had to make a decision. few people jumped out of the balloon. most stayed on. the balloon eventually disintegrating high above and falling back to the ground. 19 people killed. among them nine hong kong
nationals, two british citizens, japanese citizens part of the victims as well. lone survivors, wolferine, the egyptian pilot and a british citizen. >> 21 people on board. two survivors. i take it they were the ones who jumped out, right? >> it is very likely that they were the ones who jumped out first. they are suffering from severe burns. the rest, according to investigators suffered broken bones, head damage, those are the one, unfortunately, who decided to stay on board, wolf. >> there is apparently conflicting reports on this company's safety record in luxor, which is a major tourism destination. what have you heard about that? >> reporter: there are some reports that the company that owned this hot air balloon sky crew did not properly register with authorities after the 2011 revolution but government officials earlier today said it's too early to say whether
this was human error or a freak accident. the challenge now for egyptian officials is to reassure people that hot air balloons are not dangerous and the statistics show that it is a safe activity, based on our research this was the first fatal accident of 0 hat air balloon ever here in egypt. again officials here have to reassure people to come back and save what is already an ailing tourism industry here in egypt. >> tourism in egypt is crumbling right now. this will only make matters worse for what was a significant source of foreign income for the egyptian economy. thanks very much. there's a scary new study about breast cancer that's just come out. our own dr. sanjay gupta stands by with details and why it's being diagnosed in more younger women. in the next hour "the situation room," john kerry loosens up on his first trip as the nation's secretary of state.
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his confirmation has just been approved. roll call vote on the senate floor. threw see it. we don't have the final tally but he has more than 51 votes so he'll be the successor to leon panetta as the next secretary of defense. other news we're following, cases of advanced breast cancer in younger women are on the rise. that was just published in the journal of medical association. dr. sanjay gupta is joining us from new york right now with the latest. tell us exactly what this study found. sounds pretty disturbing. >> yeah. it is alarming for sure because you look for trends in medicine and between 1976 and 2009 what they noticed was the number of women who had, what is called me metastatic increasing in women age 25 to 39. so we see these numbers
increasing a real trend. the numbers still pretty small. back in the '70s you may have had 250 women who had this sort of metastatic breast cancer who were also under the age of 40 and now the number is closer to 850. it's not a huge absolute number but, again, in medicine you try to figure out there's a trend why is it happening and can anything be gone it. that's the big headline here. >> should women under the age of 40 start thinking about regular ma'am gramms? -- mammograms? >> i know there's been a lot of debate in the medical community. >> it's good question. the answer seems to be no not now. there's not enough evidence still that they should lower teenage at which women start receiving mammograms. that's tough to hear for some women who say my chance of having metastatic breast cancer is higher than 25 years ago why not? because the numbers are still small. could it be in part that the numbers are rising because we've
gotten better at detecting some of these things at different stages. so, we don't have enough evidence yet to recommend that, wolf. look you're absolutely right. it remains a controversial area, the screening for breast cancer specifically and i'm sure people will look that study as part of that. >> let me shift to another story. the mediterranean diet as its called. we heard a study yesterday in the new england journal much immedia -- of medicine. what's going on here? >> let me put to it you like this. the mediterranean diet could be a very good diet. it's a diet high in olive oil and nuts, the kind of food people eat in the mediterranean. the problem with the study it sound like they were comparing a mediterranean diet to a low-fat diet. when you start to look at that study more specifically what you find is that the people who were
supposed to be on a low-fat diet they weren't on a low-fat diet. they were told to eliminate or reduce fat from their diet but they couldn't do that or they didn't do that. so, for example, you take a guy like dr. dean ornish that people eat less than 10% from fat, in this group it was 37%. it wasn't comparing what they thought they were comparing. the headline here is people told to go on a low-fat diet they couldn't stick with it. they had a hard time sticking with it. it was a tough study to compare. >> basically what i hear you saying mediterranean die set good as long as you just use the low-fat part of that mediterranean diet is that what i'm hearing? >> if the question was this, is a mediterranean diet better than a low-fat diet at reducing heart disease, reducing stroke we don't know the answer to that still. despite all the headlines you read yesterday we don't know the
answer to that because there was no -- there weren't people in the study who were actually eating a true low-fat diet. what you're saying is generally correct there's some things common between the various advocates of these diet, one being lowering fat overall, you can add good kinds of fat, for example oh, live oil has a particular kind of fat that's better than the type of fat you find in certain meats and also increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet that's something both diets seem to recommend. again, if you're saying hey which is better, low-fat, mediterranean, we still don't have the answer to that question. >> i like the med ran diet because you can have a glass of wine as part of that diet. sound a lot friendlier to me. thanks very much. >> you got it, wolf. and you're in "the situation room" happening now, bipartisan bickering over the forced budget cuts. hit agnew low. republicans are deeply divided. one warning how house speak john boehner could lose his job if he
does. also a crippling midwest blizzard blasting away snowfall records going back 100 years. and is this the new face of middle age? jane fonda now in her 70s wowed the oscars and some researchers are saying 72 is the new 30. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we begin with chuck hagel. he's now is going to be the nation's defense secretary. the senate has just voted to approve his nomination. he was confirmed. dana bash is up on capitol hill. barbara starr is at the pentagon. dana, what was the final roll call? >> reporter: we don't have it
yet. they are finalizing it. we do know because our lisa is in the chamber she's counted 51 votes, simple majority needed for chuck hagel to be confirmed as the next defense secretary. we also know just listening to the votes as they come up he's gotten at least four yes votes from his former republican colleagues. that's not a lot but maybe more than some may have anticipated given the deep partisan divide over his nomination. this may surprise people as well. rand paul one of the most conservative senators he voted yes. cochran said he would. richard shelby of alabama and mike johans as well. this vote is still open. what this does is put this very bruising battle for chuck hagel behind him but obviously as barbara will tell you starts a new chapter of very, very tough
go of it at the pentagon. and with regard to the way he has to relate to members of congress especially with these forced spending cuts coming on friday. >> we'll get to that in a moment. barbara, any word yet on where he'll be sworn in, when he'll be sworn in, when he officially begins his job as defense secretary? >> wolf, we're told the plan is chuck hagel will come here to the pentagon first thing tomorrow morning. will walk up the steps to the secretary of defense's office on the third floor and will be sworn in at that time. it is always around here a private ceremony by tradition. we may get a photograph of it. but i think it's worth pausing for one minute and this will be a moment of history to reflect upon. when chuck hagel setting partisan politic, aside walks up the steps of the pentagon tomorrow morning this is a man who is a very honored combat veteran of vietnam. this man will walk in as secretary of defense, still with
shrapnel from fire fights in vietnam in his chest. this is no small matter. this is a man who is widely respected for his service to the country as is senator john mccain, john kerry now the secretary of state. this is the vietnam generation. and for so many of those veterans this will be a moment for them to pause and reflect. for chuck hagel he always recalls his vietnam service but always says he's living in the present, he's going to move ahead. >> let's see how that moving ahead goes forward. barbara, thank very much. the forced budget cuts are getting closer and closer now that the language at the same time is getting nastier and nastier especially up on capitol hill with each passing hour it's looking increasingly likely that $85 billion in spending cuts will come in to effect by this friday over the next seven months. let's go back to dana. she has the latest on this
story. what's the latest, dana, if there is any new development. >> reporter: i talked to republican congressmen today who said his constituents are suffering from drama fatigue from washington lurching from one crisis to another. that's one reason why you're not seeing 11th hour talks to avert these spending cuts. another reason -- watch and listen. i want has come to this. >> we should not have to move a third bill before the senate gets off their ass and begins to do something. >> reporter: the speaker of the house who grew up in his father's bar versus the senator majority leader whose mother made ends meet doing laundry for brothels in nevada. >> i was raised in a little town that had 13 brothels in it so i'm used to salty language. he should understand who is sitting on their posterior. we're doing our best here to pass something. the speaker is doing nothing to
try to pass anything over there. >> reporter: that off color verbal volley took the blame game to a new rather low level. as democrats and republicans conceded forced spending cuts they created in 2011 with no intention of actually kicking in now almost certainly will starting friday. president obama took his bully pulpit to norfolk, virginia where the white house says across the board cuts will for the navy to cancel maintenance of 11 ships. >> that hurts this community. because of these automatic cuts about 90,000 virginians who work for the department of defense would be forced to take unpaid leave from their jobs. >> reporter: then rapid fire warnings of other real world effects from forced spending cuts. >> more than 2,000 college students would lose their financial aid. delays in airports across the country. tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids.
>> reporter: consequences from the country's debt would be worse than $85 billion in spending cuts. >> saying the sky is falling all in an effort to scare congress and the american people in doing what he wants. >> reporter: that speaks to the heart of the divide. republicans say no new taxes in any deal to prevent indiscriminate cuts. democrats want tax increases and spending cuts. it's philosophical and insurmountable. >> there's some agreement on revenue. we should go ahead with the sequester. >> reporter: now the senate republican leader and some other republicans say that they like the idea of trying to give the president more flexibility, the issue being now that it is completely arbitrary and nothing can be changed with regard to how these cuts are going to go forward and perhaps that can be alleviated if the president has the chance to change those cuts around. there's a divide inside the gop over whether that's the right way to go.
the other problem is that the white house sees it and says no we don't want to that have political ownership of these cuts. >> when harry reid speaks of revenue he means tax revenue. unless republicans are willing to agree dana to raise taxes in effect not by raising tax rate but by eliminating loopholes or deductions or whatever there won't be a deal. that's what's is going on right now, right? >> reporter: that's exactly what's going on. it really is the classic philosophical divide between these two parties, republicans are saying we simply will not go for what the democrats want which is raising revenue, raising taxes by closing loopholes and doing other things and democrats are saying we're not even talking about a deal unless that's on the table to try to cutback on some of those, those spending cuts that they think will be so devastating. >> getting back to the other story you're working on the senate confirmation of chuck hey fwel to be the defense secretary the final vote 58-41.
58 in favor confirmation. i don't know if all showed up. 58-41. looks like it's almost strictly along party lines if you take a look at 55-45 the makeup between the democrats and the republicans in the senate. you're not surprised by this, are you in. >> reporter: into a couple of democrats earlier in the day were absent. it looks like a handful maybe four or five republicans who crossed party lines. it isn't surprising. the vote earlier to stop the republican filibuster to allow this go forward 18 republicans crossed party lines to allow that. that's a far different kind of vote for actually confirming somebody to be the defense secretary or anything. that's a very different kind of vote. it isn't surprising given the real backlash that we saw from, again, we should underscore this chuck hagel's former republican cleerks he's a former republican senator and what we have seen
over the past several weeks with his nomination the way republicans have tried to torpedo it is almost unprecedented. >> there's a republican divide to say cut a deal. listen to what senator lindsey graham told me here in the situation room yesterday. >> now is the time to group. both parties need group. we need to find a chance to do the big dip. >> other republicans see grave consequences if the house speaker john boehner agrees to raise taxes to avoid those forced budget cuts. >> i don't quite honestly believe that speaker boehner would be speaker if that happens. i think he would lose his speakship. >> let's get more now with our chief national correspondent john king. what lindsey graham was suggesting a grand bargain if you will deal with major tax reform eliminating loopholes,
deductions, lowering some rates but at the same time entitlement reform, major reform in social security and medicare/medicaid. he says if you do that then maybe there could be a deal but obviously that's not going done between now and friday. >> that's why the republican leadership and its colleagues while he has the right to have that opinion they wish he would be quiet. let's deal with the issue the sequester or forced budget cuts. if the speaker agrees to tax increases to deal with the sequester he would lose his job. republicans are shrugging at that one because the speaker has been crystal clear. there might be more infighting among republicans. they are pretty unified on the basic question which they say no tax increases for this point the $85 billion. that's what makes this so interesting. republicans are digging in because they know what the president is asking to go to their holy grail tax increase.
they just raised taxes seven weeks ago. the president wants the loopholes closed. what's so unpopular about that? then you still get back to the bigger questions. even if they figure out something for the sequester, then you go back to the bigger deficit reduction where the president is asking for more tax increase. republicans raised taxes one. if they get a grand bargain that might be twice. you can bet the ranch her not going to do it a third time. >> the whole point that some republicans are now saying even in these final days you know what mr. president you don't like these $85 billion in mandatory across the board spending cuts we'll give you flexibility come up with $85 billion price tag or number but you have the flexibility to decide where those cuts should take place. the president saying not so fast he's not interested. >> because then he would own them. the white house or cabinet agencies would be making the designates on what gets cut and what doesn't. some republicans are worried
that the administration would use that to cut programs that republicans tend to like and not cut programs democrats tend to like. what republicans think would give the president what he wants. he said this is a meat cleaver. what the republicans say it would prove you can cut this spending which remember is still a growth in spending the federal government even with this 85 billion will spend more this year than last year. republicans would say it proves you can cut the spending without devastating consequences. the president said this may be my idea to begin with but we're all at the table. >> we have a significant debate coming up in our next hour right here. steve moore of the "wall street journal" goes up against veteran wall street financier chief rattner. a good debate in the next hour. the new york city mayor dabbling in illinois politics. why michael bloomberg is dumping
millions of dollars into a congressional race hundreds of miles from home. >> are conservatives snubbing new jersey governor chris christie. we have details of an invitation that apparently never came. this is the pursuit of perfection. for over 75 years people ...with geico... ohhh...sorry!. director's voice: here we go. from the top. and action
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how's that for an encore? with xerox, you're ready for real business. the monstrous winter storm that's blasted much of the midwest is barreling eastward right now. the blizzard has dumped record amounts of snow in parts of the region, shut down power to tens of thousands, brought travel to a crawl and has even proven deadly. jason carroll is joining us from peoria, illinois. is it still packing much much a punch? >> reporter: we had a light snow here now for the better part of an hour or two. if you look straight across the illinois river you can see visibility is foggy at its best. the problem we're seeing out here is mound of snow like this. it's an indication that the people here are trying to get
over the last storm that blew through here. blinding blizzard conditions near white out closed highways in several states. blowing and drifting snow combined with wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour made for treacherous driving. in amarillo people stepped out into this. the storm dumped 19 inches of snow monday breaking a one day snowfall record that stood for more than a century. many here already weary from the last snowstorm which hit the southern plains a week ago. the warnings this time all too familiar. texas under a state of emergency. so too is kansas. >> we're very concerned about this storm. we believe it may be worst than the last one. >> reporter: a motorist killed as a result of the storm. in missouri kansas city's mayor urging people to stay inside. >> we need our kansas city citizens to take this seriously and to spread the word and to be off the roads as much as possible. >> reporter: in oklahoma a roof
caved in killing one inside. >> we did have that collapse and one individual was found dead at the scene there. >> reporter: most of the trouble was on the roads. motorists some stranded for hours as emergency crews tried to reach them. but this is the midwest and people here have seen and measured much worse. >> we're approaching 6 1/2 to 7 inches of snow. >> reporter: 6 1/2 to 7 inches, not expecting that much here in peoria. but actually, wolf, some farmers in the state of kansas who were looking forward to the snow they needed the moisture to think it ground but there's very small consolation to people who ended up getting stuck out on the roads. >> jason thank you. meanwhile other news we're following including a special election today in illinois. house seat, a congressional house seat is drawing attention and a lot of money from the mayor of new york city. michael bloomberg is flexing his financial muscle in the race
where gun control has become a top issue. our national political correspondent jim acosta is joining us now. why is michael bloomberg anxious to get involved in this special election for a congressional seat. >> you heard the pro democracy slogan one-man/one-vote. what's happening in this race in little may be described one mayor one district. in the chicago area where street violence is raging it's no surprise gun control could be the divisive issue in the democratic primary for congressional seat that's up for grabs. >> watch out for debbie halvorson. when he was in congress before she was got an a for the nra. >> the man who is pushing tissue more than anybody else is not from illinois. new york city mayor michael bloomberg super p.a.c. dumped several million into the race.
>> kelley will join president obama to take on the nra. >> because it's a special election to replace congressman jesse jackson jr. who resigned abruptly last november the candidates have had only a few no, sir campaign. halverson said bloomberg's money has made her the underdog. >> first thing they tell me we're with you. we're sick and tired of those commercials. a mayor of new york will never control this election. we don't want someone sticking their nose into little politics. >> pro control mayor argues he's putting his millions to good use. >> the public should stand up. i'm part of the public. i happen to have some money. that's what i'm going to do with my money is try to get us some sensible gun laws. >> with chicago still reeling from the high-profile murder of hidalyia pendleton, robin kelley
has her own ads. but no matter the issue the campaign watchdog group the sunlight foundation says bloomberg's meddling in hil is just another reminder of so you super p.a.c.s can play king maker in tiny races. >> what it tells you is somebody with a lot of money can tip the balance in a race. it looks like he will determine the next member of congress for the chicago district. >> he's going to be picking the next member of congress? >> that's the way it looks. >> but the polls are still open and they have to count the votes in illinois and there's one other big election day factor in that race the snow could affect the turnout. look at that right now. this live picture of chicago there's still some snow coming down. we'll have to find out whether the snow affects this race as much as the blizzard of money that's going into these ads from mayor bloomberg. >> that doesn't look like a whole lot of snow to me. those people are used to winter.
folks in chicago can deal with it. we'll be speaking here in the situation room tomorrow with the reverend jesse jackson his son's district as you know where the special election is taking place. reverend jesse jackson will join us here in the situation room tomorrow a special interview with him coming up. also coming up here today we're not getting any younger or are we. a new study is sure to put a spring back in your step especially if you're over 70. what's going on? we'll tell you. [ male announcer ] a lot of sinus products don't treat cough. they don't? [ male announcer ] nope, but alka seltzer plus severe sinus does it treats your worst sinus symptoms, plus that annoying cough. [ breathes deeply ] ♪ oh, what a relief it is! [ angry gibberish ]
gas is to blame for today's deadly hot air explosion over luxor. in this video shot from another balloon the ill fated craft is seen exploding on its descent and plummeting. 19 people died. two are hospitalized. governor of luxor province have grounded all hot air balloons until further notice. in boston the bus company pulled almost it's entire fleet of buses 21 out of 28 from the road. according to the "boston globe" the decision was made after state inspectors discovered structural cracks in several of the company's buses. they are using charter buses and reduced schedules to make their run between boston and new york. recovery in the housing market is picking up. prices rose at an annual rate of 7.3% in 2012 and census bureau
says new home sales rocketed more than 15% from december to january. lower mortgage rates, tighter supply and a stronger economy are credited with fueling that upswing. okay so hawaii conjures upping thoughts of a warm tropical beach, swaying palm trees. certainly not snow capped mountains. well hawaii got a burst of winter weather over the weekend. several inches of snow blanketed the mauna kea volcano. it's not expected to stay very long. rain and high winds followed the snow and temperatures are on the rise. what a gorgeous sight. a lot of people don't realize you can go skiing in hawaii. big island has just about every climate on the globe. desert. rain. i went to high school on the big island. a shout out to my high school the hawaii preparatory academy. >> how are you supposed to say
it? >> some people say hawaii but if you're there a lot of people say hawaii. >> how do you say it? >> depending on the company i'm keeping but usually i say hawaii. hawaii. >> hawaii. >> love it. >> buffalo state. >> a lot of family there but the big island is a waterfall place to visit. a plug for the island. >> thank you, lisa. up next some republicans go on the record over the hot issue of same sex marriage. they are now backing it, they are urging the united states supreme court to do the same. so what's going on? our "strategy session." that's next. citrucel is different- it's the only fiber for regularity that won't cause excess gas. it's gentle and clinically proven to help restore and maintain regularity. look for citrucel today.
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rule in favor of same sex marriage. the signers include some close advisors to former president george w. bush, some former governors, two members of congress and our own cnn contributor republican strategist ana navarro who is also joining donna brazil. what's going on among these republicans. a lot of them not necessarily known as supporters of gay marriage, why are they now coming out signing this letter? >> i think it was a personal choice. you know, we're very respectful of the process and of the court. i think everybody who is on there is on there because of a personal choice because of personal feelings. this is an evolving issue. it's one that's very personal, complex, emotional. for me it's very simple, wolf. i cannot look into my friend's eyes and say to a friend of mine they are entitled to less rights than i am, they are less equal than i am. it's not about politics it's about human rights. everybody has their own reasons to do it. for the most part it's a
personal journey for everybody. >> you know the end of march, the arguments will be made, the oral arguments will be made before the supreme court by the end of june we expect a decision on whether or not the country is going to go along with this from the federal perspective. a letter like this could influence some of those wavering members of the united states court. >> i'm sure the court is split. it may influence justice kennedy. who knows what other justices. >> maybe justice roberts. >> wish it would influence all nine justice because there's no place for discrimination in our society. i'm proud of honor. of course i would support the champion for human rights for all people but this is an issue, wolf, where public opinion has dramatically shifted in favor of same sex marriage in nine states including the district of columbia as some form of marriage equality. it's time all 50 states have this. >> we have to be a party where you can co-exist. if you're a believer in equal
rights and gay equality and if you are not. that's the kind of big tent that we need to build as republicans where we can all respect each other and where there is a party that embraces diversity of thought. >> looked at that list of 75 republicans. . jon huntsman a information governor of utah, former presidential candidates, a conservative and mormon he signed that letter as well. there were some other pretty significant name. >> my congresswoman, current congresswoman who is currently serving signed that letter. i can tell you she's got some very conservative constituents in places like little havana. it's worth noting there's three latino republicans that signed that. it talks about the diversity that there is within the party and within the thought and that we can't afraid of being. you can be anything. that's what personal sfreem about and what the republican party is about. >> so many people's views on this have evolved.
bill clinton colin powell, some others. we'll see what happens. >> i hope anna and others will lead the way. >> what are you hearing? you're pretty well plugged in. why wasn't the republican governor of new jersey chris christie, very popular guy invited to this conservative political event that's going to be taking place in the coming days, cpac the conference here in washington? >> there's people who have some issues with them. some people still lay some blame on him for the election results and for what happened. >> because he hugged the president. >> look, cpac is a conservative meeting for conservatives. and god knows conservatives have enough soul searching of their own to do. if you ask me i tell you i think they did him a favor by not inviting him. his numbers are at 74 approval in new jersey. i can tell you that not getting involved to cpac might bump it up to 80. i think they did him a great
favor. >> what do you think? >> i think it's bad not to be invited. on the other hand he is a conservative. democrats see him as a conservative. this will clearly help him with independents in new jersey. to exclude a prominent member of your party at a time when your party is in the midst of soul searching trying to rebrand yourself, retool, reach out i think is a huge mistake. but then i'm not a conservative. anna is and she's going. >> the part is why make a big fuse about it. why say we didn't invite him we're not going -- if you're not going invite him don't say anything. it's worth noting how much has changed that just last year he was one of the featured speakers at cpac chicago meeting. >> i want to move on to another subject. right now campaign ad a new one for teddy turner the son of cnn founder ted turner. he's a high school economics teacher in south carolina. he's running in the republican primary for an open house seat.
also in the crowded republican field former south carolina governor mark sanford who resigned after famously saying he was going hiking instead flew to argentina to see his mistress. here's the ad and what appears to be a swipe at san period. >> we've come a long way. i know it's a few much it was a few trillion. i'll keep my promises this time. it will be different. i'm sorry for all the mistakes i made. just give me one more chance. >> break up with career politicians, the right guy teddy turner. conservative republican. economics teacher. not a politician. >> i'm teddy turner and i approve this message. >> funny ads work in a special election? >> they get media. they get attention. i'll tell you something for not being a career politician he sure learned pretty quick how to put a whammy of an ad.
>> he should have used some barry white. or should have used "don't cry for me argentina." but, you know, it's a very competitive race. i think he's trying to establish himself as somebody who is not like his father mr. turner, though i have no problems with his dad. i think his dad is a hero. this is a very interesting contest in a conservative part of the country and i'm looking forward to see if mark sanford can redeem himself. so many politicians have come back after falling to the wayside. >> it's an effective ad. he's highlighting two things one mark sanford's past character flaws and number two he's not a career politician. >> thanks very much. coming up button down john kerry loosening up a bit on his first overseas trip as secretary of state. we have details his town hall meeting in berlin. hey tell you u need your oil changed
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it's his first trip abroad as secretary of state, john kerry is racking up some miles. look at ihis itinerary. today we saw a sign of john kerry not often seen. our foreign affairs correspondent is traveling with secretary kerry. >> kerry the secretary of state of the united states. >> reporter: in a town hall style meeting in berlin america's top diplomat john kerry sporting a preppy pink tie showed he can loosen up.
at one point the often buttoned up kerry turned folksy in explaining america's right to free speech. >> in america you have a right to be stupid. if you want to be. and you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be. and we tolerate it. >> reporter: on his first trip overseas as secretary of state kerry seems intent on avoiding diplomatic disasters, especially in his first meeting with russia. >> we want to reset -- >> reporter: like his predecessor infamous misspelled reset button. >> we worked hard to get the right russian word. >> you got it wrong. >> reporter: kerry's photo op of the russian foreign minister was over in a minute. they seemed eager to get down to business. but when the cameras left kerry and sergei spent two hours
together nearly half of which was devoted syria. let's see if anything positive emerged from that meeting. we'll stay in touch with jill dougherty. let's get back to our top story. three days left to see if those forced spending cuts, $85 billion over the next seven months go into effect. our chief political analyst has been talking to senior administration officials. is there any progress being made at all to avert those cuts between now and friday? >> sure doesn't seem so. the senior administration officials i spoke with seem completely dug in on this. they are not having meetings with the house speaker or the republican leader in the senate. they told me that they believe that politically everyone agrees with him on this, that this debate occurred during the 2012 election, that it was resolved, people want a balanced approach, spending cuts and some tax increases, and one senior official said to me the only
thing we can think of is that republicans can't figure out a way to get all of their people together which is why they are putting this focus on us. so as you can hear, wolf, there is no give on this at this point as we stare into that deadline. >> because see the president says these are stupid ways to make cuts it is very painful, teachers, head start, certain defense department employees. just a dumb way to do it across the board. some republicans are now saying you know what mr. president we'll give you flexibility. >> right. >> it's up to you to decide a smarter way to get rid of some waste, fraud and abuse, you come up with a plan we'll support you and the white house says -- >> absolutely, unequivocally no. one senior administration official said it would be quota cynical device, that it would be a complete sham, the republican proposal that is. and one official put to it me this way. he said you know it's as if
somebody says okay you have to cut off 2005 your fingers and we'll give you a choice of which two of your fingers you want cut off. not much of a choice. as you know wolf there are also republicans who object to that like senator john mccain who say why would we give the president more authority to decide where these cuts go. why should we abdicate in that sense. so from the administration's perspective an absolute complete nonstarter. >> what about the idea lindsey graham had. a grand bargain. he'll deal with more tax revenue, eliminate loopholes, deductions, lower some rates, tax reform in exchange for entitlement reform, social security, medicare reform, let's do a big deal and then we'll get to the bottom. >> lindsay fwrams was over at the white house today and i guarantee you that that question was probably posed by the president of the united states. >> is the president open to that? >> it's hard to say at this point because you have to get through this problem before you
can get to the grand bargain. but from the white house perspective you know they believe they put a plan on the table. they put a serious deal on the table. and when you say to them okay how do you get past this, this issue we have with march 1, there is a possibility of some kind of a short term kind of deal like a credit card down payment, but, again, i think the administration would insist that it have some revenue component and that's a nonstarter for republicans and then, of course, wolf, what everybody is talking about is this question of do you find some way to deal with all of this on march 27th when we have this impending potential government shut down and when you look at that is there a way to maybe get all of this done together? >> you see how much pain there is out there. >> will the public blame everybody?
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all right. check this out. this is jesse james, the outlaw, about 30, about 30, in the mid-1800s. this is chuck norris, living now, this day and age, hard to believe, but a new study says these people have the same odds of dying. a new study saying 72 really is the new 30. mary, what's going on? >> well, wolf, a researcher in
germany came up with that benchmark, and he says he did it so people could understand just how much mortality rates have improved. she's 75, but jane fonda looks decades younger. mid-life is not the first word that comes to mind when describing 40-something halle berry. hollywood's women continue to get the upper hand over father time, while the rest of us might not look as good as we age, research suggests that 72 is the new 30. >> when i say 72 is the new 30, i just mean that the mortality that was one typical of a 30-year-old, that was typical of most of the 30-year-olds, is now more typical of someone who's in their 70s. and so mortality has changed a lot. >> reporter: that long life improvement occurred mostly in the last 100 years, says a study done at germany's max plank institute for demographic
research. bottom line, it finds before 1,91 1900, the odds of dying at age 30 are the same as the odds of dying at 72 today. mostly because of better health care and improved living conditions. one research not involved in that study isn't surprised people are living longer. but not all the news is good. >> life expectancy for women has taken on a very peculiar pattern. >> reporter: sociologist jennifer karas montez has spent years to find out why some women in the u.s. are losing ground when it comes to life expect sis. >> what's happening to women is that the low educated women, especially those without a high school education, have seen declines in their life expectancy, which is really quite shocking. >> reporter: exactly why is unclear. her study suggests trends in smoking play a role as well as employment. she says the stagnation in the labor market is taking a mental and physical toll on those less educated women.
overall, the trend is positive, but just how much longer life will keep extending is as ela elusive as the fountain of youth. now, the sociologists that we spoke with in the u.s. said, bottom line, the well off are living longer in the u.s. on average, women, she says, has a life expectancy of 80 years ago old, and for men, . and a sinking boat makes a desperate call for help, but question, is it all a hoax? [ engine turns over, tires squeal ] and you'll find advanced safety technology like an available heads-up display on the 2013 lexus gs. there's no going back. you know how painful heartburn can be. for fast, long lasting relief, use doctor recommended gaviscon®. only gaviscon® forms a protective barrier that helps block stomach acid from splashing up- relieving the pain quickly. try fast, long lasting gaviscon®.
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about those forced budget cuts? a blizzard double whammy, the snow misery now, and the worries that this winter will get even worse. high court suspense. while a landmark law from the civil rights era could be gutted. voting mystery. did the coast guard respond to another hoax? and a balloon disaster. we have new video of the deadly explosion and new fears about balloon safety. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." before the senate gets off their ass and begins to do something. >> that's the house speaker, helping to set the tone for the next three days of spin and blame, until their budget ax falls. president obama is isn't holding back either. he went to a naval shipyard in virginia to renew his warnings about the impact of those forced spending cuts.
he's now back at the white house. our chief white house correspondent, jessica yellin, is there as well with more on what is going on. jessica? >> reporter: wolf, senior administration officials tell me, they're beginning to see cracks in republican's unified position, that they want those forced spending cuts to go into effect on friday as is. but the truth is, those cracks are few and friday's deadline is approaching quickly. at a shipyard near the largest naval base in the world, president obama fired a warning shot. >> this work, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs, are currently in jeopardy because of politics in washington. >> reporter: the 21,000 workers at this massive plant could suffer if congress doesn't cut a deal to avoid the forced spending cuts that trigger this friday. mr. obama says a slowdown here could have ripple effects across the economy.
virginia residents are worried and angry at both democrats and republicans. >> we just don't have is a voice with the government anymore. >> set your ideological differences aside and get to creating jobs. you're about to destroy a whole bunch of people here. >> reporter: according to the obama administration, most americans will not feel the effects of the forced spending cuts right away. polling shows that while 60% of americans say they believe the cuts will have a major impact on the overall economy, only 30% believe it will hit them in their own pocketback. in washington, insiders are convinced the american people will have to suffer a while before leaders will negotiate. in the meantime, the spin game is on. insisting he's above politics -- >> i'm not interested in playing a blame game. at this point, all i'm
interested in is just solving problems. >> reporter: president obama then accused the gop of standing in the way. >> but i just have to be honest with you. there are two many republicans in congress right now who refuse to compromise, even an inch. >> reporter: on capitol hill, you'd have to rate the republican leaders' words pg-13. >> we have moved the bill in the house twice. we should not have to move a third bill before the senate gets off their ass and begins to do something. >> reporter: the senate's democratic leader fired back. >> you know, i was
thanks very much for that, jessica. kate balduan is here, she's watching what's going on. a lot of tough talk, a lot of hype, dire warnings, and we're trying to figure it all out. >> especially with this debate, wolf. and i think you agree, so many around the country, they're not sure what to believe or who to believe when it comes to these forced budget cuts. we're trying to cut through the spin and figure out the reality. our tom foreman is at the magic wall. tough assignment, tom. it's tough to figure out fact from fiction. >> reporter: if you were listen to only the white house, you would have the sense you were going through a sequestration nation pretty soon. and all these people in all these different areas. food safety and our tax returns, our national parks, everything. and this seems to be true. if you are the right person doing the right thing, you, in fact, may see an effect here. for example, if you are in a military town, and you rely on military business, you might see an impact fairly soon. if you're at the airport waiting for the right flight at the
right busy time, you might have a delay. if you're waiting on unemployment benefits and the check comes in lighter than you'd expect, that would also be a real effect on you fairly soon. but notice i'm talking about specific people doing specific things. the broader picture of the whole country may be different. and to address that, i want to talk about one of the hottest things that came up today. eric holder speaking up. he has this point to say in the middle of today where he says, look, we will be less safe if our budget of justice is cut next year by $1.6 billion to $25.4 billion. if this cut happens, the nation will be less safe. these are his words. and this is why he says that. because he says, there will be furloughs at the fbi, fewer people looking into crimes and trying to prevent crimes. atf inspections, things like gun permits and everything will be knocked down. fewer people to man the prisons. prisons will spend time more time on lockdown, fewer grants for local law enforcement.
all of these things will make things less safe in the country, according to him. the question is, we're talking about people suffering out there, voters suffering. will people notice this? if you're not the person furloughed, will you know in your community, the fbi is not there? will you know that he spent an extra 20 minutes doing something that might have taken ten minutes? i don't really know, kate. that's really the question. >> and there still are so many questions. tom, you know that some republicans, many republicans are really pushing back saying that all of that is just a scare tactic. what have you found out? >> i have found this. this is important to bear in mind. think about the statement. this is a very broad statement that sounds like scary words. i don't really know what it is he wants to do or whether or not, when he says less safe, if he means to scare people. i can't question his motives. but i can question his math. this is the budget, if he gets the sequester, $25.4 billion for next year. that's how much he would get. but look at this. this is a graph of funding for the justice department, for the last 11 years. and if you'll notice, when you
look at this graph, in fact, that line would be right about here. so, in fact, for the past 11 years, only the past three years has the justice department had more money than they would have under the sequester. so does that mean that all these years, we were less safe when the national crime rate was steadily moving down during that period of time? these are the tough challenges out there, because in many ways, as democrats in the white house say, all these cataclysmic things are going to hit if the sequester comes in. i think republicans may be betting on the idea if a few weeks pass, a couple months pass, and the public doesn't notice it because of things like this, then they're going to be able to turn around at the white house and say, you were just trying to scare us. you said a lot of things, and we haven't seen it come to pass. >> those numbers sure can be mind numbing, but they're so important for everyone to understand and see there are still a lot of politics at play. tom, great job on that. ahead we're going to take another hard look at what will really happen when those budget
cuts take effect. two economic experts, stephen moore and steven ratner are standing by for a very good debate. >> it will be an excellent debate. much more other news we're following as well, including a record-breaking, bone-chilling, paralyzing winter weather system. that blizzard that hammered the texas panhandle is on the move right now. it could dump 18 inches of snow in parts of the midwest. more than 45 million people are under at least some kind of winter weather watch, from oklahoma all the way to michigan. cnn's george howell is right in the thick of things. he's in kansas city, rate now, kansas city, missouri. what's going on? >> reporter: wolf, look, we're talking snow on top of snow. this is the second time in a week that the midwest has been hit hard by a snow system like this, and there's a lot of this stuff out here. you're looking at it right now, wolf, there's more snow in the forecast. snowplows hit the streets of kansas city tuesday, to wage war against mother nature. this city on the kansas/missouri
border could see up to a foot of snow from the massive blizzard before it ends. lindsay hughes spend much of his day shoveling. >> it's heavy and it's wet and we're just trying to get it off. >> reporter: the heavy, wet snow has made getting around difficult. whether it's behind the wheel or on foot. and most of these major interstate highways are possible. you know, through missouri and kansas. and it's mainly because of these snowplows. they've been going through the night to make sure drivers are safe on the roads. we've seen very few drivers out here. most people going at a snail's pace. we saw several accidents along the way. drivers who may have been going too fast and ultimately last control. falling branches wreaked havoc on the power system. and looked what happened to a building's roof in belton, missouri, when cameras rolled. elsewhere in kansas, a 100-year record in witchta is no more.
that area has now seen 21 inches of snow for february, taking down the old mark in just six days. the huge snowstorm has started to ease up in the texas panhandle, now making its way northeast. check out these amazing images shot by a cnn ireporter, just outside amarillo monday. parts of the texas panhandle saw 19 inches of snow monday, forcing out the tow trucks in whiteout conditions. and from the ground to the air, no snow, but plenty of wind was on hand to whip around planes at the san antonio international airport. gusts hit more than 54 miles per hour at the airport. fortunately, no injuries were reported. back in kansas city, people just want a break from all the snowfall. >> it's been a long, what, seven days, ten days, something like that? a so i'm ready to go home. >> reporter: and this was a big storm system. it proved to be a deadly storm
system, killing three people. the worst of it has hit us here in kansas city, missouri. the storm system now tracking to the north, to the northeast for chicago, michigan, and canada. our meteorologists do tell us a bit of good news. the system is weakening, wolf. >> george howell in kansas city for us, thanks very, very much. we're joined now by the director of the national weather service in washington, louis, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you. >> so what makes this blizzard, if you can call it a blizzard, historic? >> first of all, with the very strong winds in texas, then the oklahoma panhandle yesterday, the very cold temperatures and record-setting snowfall, they had whiteout conditions, very dangerous conditions, snow approaching 2 feet, drifts over 6 feet. so the blizzard conditions are defined by the lack of visibility and very heavy snowfall rates. >> now, let me ask you. this is the second major storm to hit the heartland region. the northeast was pummeled with
a big storm, a massive storm earlier this month. you had hurricane sandy, and that's just in the united states. there are extreme weather conditions and weather events happening all around the globe, which has people asking that same question, do you think -- is this global warming or is this just a band of extreme weather event? >> well, first of all, with weren't storms especially, we get into -- once you get into the pattern that sets up these storms, they can repeat themselves. so it is this episodic nature of heavy snowfall that we've seen in different parts of the country. like in this part of the country, we haven't had a major snowfall event now in two years, so once the pattern gets set up, you can get these repetitive storms, and this is exactly what's happened in the midwest. and you can't relate these individual storms to the global warming aspect. there are people doing research in this area. it's very active research area. but, clearly, once you get the pattern set up, you can get these repetitive storms in kansas, in missouri, right in
the alley for these storms. >> there's been so much speculation about climate change, which is why we're seeing all these extreme weather patterns emerge. you're not ready to draw that conclusion yet? >> not with respect to individual storms. there is evidence to suggest that as you, well, if the atmosphere warms, you'll get more precipitation with these storms. we're seeing an increase in precipitation, but we don't have enough evidence yet to make that direct linkage. >> what do you see for the rest of this winter? >> we take it a week at the time at the national weather service. and right now, this storm is still a very active and dangerous storm, from michigan, into western new york. and the mountains in new england are getting hit with very heavy snows. and once this cold air starts factors into the eastern third of the country, it's going to be around for a while. in fact, we're starting to watch out for the end of the week and the weekend. >> louis uccellini, you just took over the nerns nrational w
servi service, we'll be counting on you to give us great weather. or at least good, accurate forecasts. >> that's what i'm doing. >> that's what he strives for. >> good luck with the new job. >> thank you. a new study is out on breast cancer, and it suggests there's been a slight increase in the number of younger women with advanced stap ed stages of the . researchers focused on women 25 to 29 years old over the last three decades and they say more studies are needed to verify the findings. and our dr. sanjay gupta tells us this, there isn't enough evidence to recommend that women under 40 should start getting routine mammograms, but it sure is a study getting a lot of attention today. chuck hagel's fight is now over. the full senate voted to confirm his nomination after some harsh criticisms from republicans and weeks of delay. the final vote was 58 in favor, 41 opposed. four republicans joining the democratic majority in approving hagel's nomination. the former republican senator from nebraska is likely to be sworn in tomorrow to replace the
pentagon chief, leon panetta. president obama issued this statement just moments ago. "i will be counting on chuck's judgment and counsel as we end the war in afghanistan. bring our troops home, stay ready to meet the threats of our time, and keep our military the finest fighting force in the world. mostly of all, i'm grateful to chuck for reminding us that when it comes to national defense, we are not democrats or republicans, we are americans." >> a busy day at the white house. republican senators john mccain and lindsey graham were at the white house, they discussed immigration reform with the president, among other topics. the two republicans issued a pretty upbeat statement, surprisingly enough, describing their talks with the president as excellent. they say they were pleased to hear the president state his firm commitment that he will do whatever is necessary to pass comprehensive reform legislation this year. they did not, though, answer many questions relating to the sequester of the forced budget cuts.
>> a little optimistn thptimism. it was a turning point in the fight for the civil rights, but now the u.s. supreme court may undo parts of the landmark voting rights act. we'll take a closer look at what's going on. that's ahead. also, the coast guard investigating a distress call, but did rescuers respond to yet another hoax? stay with us. the same? citrucel is different- it's the only fiber for regularity that won't cause excess gas. it's gentle and clinically proven to help restore and maintain regularity. look for citrucel today. it's gentle and clinically proven to help restore and maintain regularity. oh, hi thehey!ill. are you in town for another meeting? p, i brought my a-team. vo: business trips add up to family time. this is my family. this is joe. hi joe! hi there! vo: earn a ton of extra points with the double your hhonors promotion and feel the hamptonality. it's lots of things. all waking up. connecting to the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ it's going to be amazing.
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experience serious allergic reactions such as body rash, trouble with breathing, fast heartbeat, or sweating. flexpen® is insulin delivery my way. covered by most insurance plans, including medicare. find your co-pay cost at myflexpen.com. ask your health care provider about novolog® flexpen today a landmark achievement of the civil rights area that changed american politics. guess what, it could soon be gutted. >> tomorrow, the supreme court will hear a challenge to the 1965 voting rights act. one of its key provisions is being targeted and our crime and justice correspondent, joe johns, is here with details. this is a very big deal. this is a major provision, the major provision, in the voting rights act. >> it really is. it's just a huge deal. the voting rights act has been called the most successful civil rights legislation ever. it was passed to stop racial trickery and discrimination, like poll taxes and literacy
tests. tomorrow, the supreme court looks at whether the very thing that is supposed to make the law effective is actually outdated and unconstitutional. calara county, alabama, in the heart of the dixie, population just under 8,000. eight years, ernest montgomery was elected to represent the city council. >> i think because of our past, we have to accept, you know, the way times were. >> reporter: four years ago, the city council redrew voting lines. montgomery lost re-election by two votes. >> they added four large subdivisions, which were predominantly white, through my district, which diluted the district from a 67% african-american district down to about a 28%. >> reporter: but the u.s. department of justice stepped in and helped montgomery get his
job back, saying the county needed to gt federal approval to make the changes under the voting rights act, first signed by lyndon johnson in 1965. >> to eliminate the last vestiges of injustice. >> reporter: at the heart of the act is what's known as section five, which allows the justice department or a court to shut down discriminatory changes to voting laws, mostly in southern states, before they go into effect. president bush in congress saw need to renew the law as recently as 2006. but now, shelby county, alabama, where calera is located, is challenging section five as a violation of state's rights. the symbols and historic landmarks of the old south are all around shelby county, alabama. just one county to the north at this church in birmingham, four little black girls were killed in a bombing in 1963. and now the supreme court is being asked to accept the argument that the south has
changed enough to overturn what some say is the heart of the voting rights act. frank ellis is the shelby county attorney. >> the south is not the same south it was in 1964. the whole country has changed. we're a dynamic society. >> reporter: how much things have changed is disputed. whites we spoke with this in local diner said they see the re-election of the country's first black president as a real sign. >> i still think about discrimination, going back even 15 years, 10 years in the south. i think we are gaining ground. >> reporter: but african-americans recalled the battle in the last election over alleged voter suppression, and some say things have gotten worse, because obama's election made some white voters angry. >> you have, you know, people who are very unhappy. you know, i mean, during the election time, you know, you had, you know, dummies of president obama hanging from the
trees. >> judging from past cases, one of the court's biggest questions is why the voting rights act applies mainly to southern states instead of being a nationwide thing. by the way, not all the states that are partly or fully covered by section five are supporting this challenge to the law. mississippi and north carolina, as well as new york and california, have actually come out in support of section five. >> and is there any indicator from how the justices have ruled in the past and how they might be leaning in this case? >> the chief justice has actually said, in some of his writings, that he believes the south has changed. justice thomas, clarence thomas, has actually said that he thinks section five is unconstitutional. so it could be a close case. >> an important case, regardless. >>wear going to speak with the reverend jesse jackson tomorrow. he'll be our special guest here in "the situation room" on this and other subjects as well. >> a great guest. joe johns, thanks so much. so three days to go before forced budget cuts take effect. are president obama's dire warnings on target or overblown? two economic experts are ready to face off on that, next.
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republicans are accusing president obama of resorting to scare tactics in these, the final days before forced budget cuts take effect. but the president insists his dire warnings are very real and that he's not playing politics. >> i've run my last election. michelle's very happy about that. i'm not interested in spin, i'm not interested in playing a blame game. at this point, all i'm interested in is just solving problems. >> when americans watch what's going on here in washington,
many of them believe both sides, though, are playing politics. so is anyone giving us the full story? we're joined now by two economic experts, steven ratner, a member of the obama administration, he served as counselor over at the treasury department. stephen moore of the "wall street journal" founded the conservative club for growth. thanks, guys, very much, for coming in. steve moore, i know you have strong views on this. steve rattner does as well. these automatic spending cuts, if they go into effect on friday, as we now all assume they will, is it really going to have an impact on the broader u.s. economy? >> no, it won't, wolf. and i was so -- i'm old enough to remember back in the 1980s, when we did a small across-the-board cut, smaller than this one, but the agency found ways to save money, to save on paper clips and travel and conferences and, you know, the world didn't come to an end. i think the president's rhetoric is overheated and i think it is fright night. and what we're talking about
here is about a $50 to $60 billion cut out offed a $16 trillion economy. i don't see where this is going to hurt the economy -- in fact, i would make the case, wolf, that cutting government spending right now given how gigantic our budget deficit is, $1 trillion, i think this would be beneficial for the economy, if government became more economical and saved 4 cents on the dollar. >> all right, steve rattner, what do you think? >> first of all, there will be an overall effect on the economy. i think every major economist that's studied this talks about 0.4%, 0.5% effect on gdp. but unemployment checks go down on day one. those affect not only those people, but the stores in which they shop. fewer agricultural inspectors in the food processing plants mean they can't process as much food. economic activity slows is down. i'm just giving you a couple of examples. it's not going to end life as we know it, but it's going to have a noticeable and significant effect.
>> do you want to respond, steve moore? >> look, here's where i throw up my hands in kind of exasperation about this. steve is saying exactly what people in the white house and quite frankly, what people in the media are saying. that this is going to lead tho all of these dire consequences. and my attitude, wolf, is we can't do this. if we can't cut the first $60 billion out of a $1 trillion deficit, how are we ever going to come close to a balanced budget? this is what i'm not hearing from the other side. okay, if we're not going to do this, what are we going to do? and i quite frankly think asking every agency, defense and domestic agencies, to become a little bit more lean and efficient as businesses have done, makes a lot of sense. >> and lean and efficient might be a gad thing. i'm sure everybody wants that. but there are some more liberal economists who are arguing that this kind of sequester, these across-the-board cuts could actually hurt deficit reduction efforts. the impact of the cuts, the impact of the furloughs, and the loss of revenue will actually be
counteractive. it would increase the deficit. >> well, i think that's a joke. i mean, that's the same logic that said that the $800 billion stimulus bill was going to create 3 million or 4 million jobs, which never occurred. look, i think economy and government right now, we need austerity in government, and we need more private sector growth. we haven't had that for four years, and i'm a believer that this high deficit is one of the things that's really holding back private business. >> go ahead, steve moore. >> austerity is not the friend of growth, we learned that in europe. i think virtually all of us who are serious people are in favor of reducing the deficit, but it needs to be done gradually over time, and the spending reductions need to be done with a scalpel, not a meat ax. the problem with that forced deficit reduction, if you want to call it that, is that it is an across-the-board cut, and worst of all, it's an across-the-board cut, focused on some of the most important programs, like education, like infrastructure, like research and development.
they are bearing a hugely disproportionate chair of these reductions. >> on that point, though, steve -- >> hold on a second, wolf -- >> i just want him to respond to the point. some republicans are saying, you know, it doesn't have to be a meat ax. you know what, mr. president, $85 billion, we want those cuts, half in defense, half in domestic spending. you don't want the across-the-board cuts, we're going to give you flexibility, mr. president. go ahead and you smart the cut way, so that we don't deal with some of those critically important areas, but you can find some waste, fraud, and abuse, if you, some excessive spending. you come up with it, but the president says, i'm not playing that game. why isn't he playing that game? >> i'm not sure the president said, i'm not playing that game. i think getting that authority would be welcome for the sake of the economy -- >> well, the president -- listen to what the president said today. i'll play the clip. he said, i'm not interested in getting that flexibility, which would put all of the responsibility on him. listen to the president today in virginia. >> some people have been saying,
well, maybe we'll just get the president some flexibility. he can make the cuts the way he wants and that way, it won't be as damaging. you know, the problem is, when you're cutting $85 billion in seven months, which represents over a 10% cut in the defense budget in seven months, there's no smart way to do that. >> and white house officials make it clear, they don't want to play that game, steve. but it would be -- steve rattner. but it would be an opening to try to come up with $85 billion in cuts in a smart way, as opposed to this meat ax. >> certainly, it would be better than the meat ax. but what the president is also saying, to do this in a very compressed period of time is not ideal from the stake of the economy. i think all of us, and if the president doesn't blaelieve it,o be it. i think all of believe that
spending needs to be con train . and it can't all be about spending reductions to deal with our deficit problems. we also need revenue increases. so far, virtually all of the revenue reduction that's occurred over last ten years, the vast preponderance has come on the spending side, not the revenue side. >> got to leave it there. steve rattner, i'll give you ten seconds. >> what deficit reduction? there's been no deficit reduction. i mean, the deficits -- >> you know -- >> we haven't cut a dime out of the deficits. >> you know that's not true. >> we haven't cut anything yet. >> yes, we have. >> they're talking about cuts in five and six and seven years. >> yes, we have. >> we've had two rounds of sp d spending reductions. >> and they haven't cut entitlements either. when is the president going to cut entitlements. >> the president has said everything is on the table and i believe him. >> unfortunately, it does not look like entitlement reform is going to be managed -- >> let there be comprehensive entitlement reform, let there be comprehensive tax reform, work out a grand bargain, get this
resolved. lindsey graham said it on this show yesterday, he's open to it, a whole bunch of republicans and democrats are as well. that would be a smart way of dealing with this deficit, this exploding national debt. guys -- >> and we're open to it too. >> thanks very much, steve rattner, steve moore. appreciate it. >> thanks, guys. we had a remarkable sight today in north korea. the basketball star, or shall we say, the former basketball star, dennis rodman, look at this, he's in pyongyang, north korea. he's tweeting. stay here. kate's going to explain, what is going on. and it's called the king of beers, but a lawsuit claims that budweiser isn't all it claims to be. resources they need.
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anheuser-busch. the suit, which was filed in california, says the company's 13 breweries across the u.s. follow the same policy of diluting its products and overstating their alcohol content insider to increase profit. cnn has reached out to anheuser-busch, but received no comment so far. updates to come. and a victor today for president obama's health care reform law. new jersey governor chris christie says his state will accept the expansion of medicaid, that's part of the law. he's the eighth republican governor now to go along with the expansion. it means more federal money to cover more people. christie says he still does not like obama care, but doesn't see why money slated for new jersey should go to another state. and a pair of reports today show the country's housing market continues to improve. both new home sales and home prices are up. the news about home prices, as well, corporate earnings, plus encouraging remarks from federal reserve chairman ben bernanke caused stocks to go up.
the dow industrials gained back a little over half of yesterday's big loss. and an historic moment in north korea today. believe it or not, and it's hard to believe, dennis rodman of all people, arrived for a visit along with the harlem globetrotters. he might become the first american to visit with north korea's new leader, kim jong-un. r rodman tweeted from north korea's capital that he's honored to represent the u.s., adding, quote, they love basketball here. could be the first american to meet the little kim. >> could you imagine, he's going to meet with kim jong-un, at least that's what he suggests, looking forward to it. i think that will be the first -- obviously, north koreans have met with some chinese. other than that, i don't think anyone has met with kim jong-un since he took over for his dad. but madeleine albright, when she went there during the clinton administration, she brought a present to kim jong-un's father. >> what was that present? >> that present was a basketball signed by michael jordan, and they treasured it. when i was there a couple years
ago, i saw how they treasure that basketball. >> so the moral of the story -- >> they love basketball. >> -- is they love basketball in north korea. >> basketball brings us together. >> strange-ola. that's all i've got to say. >> maybe we'll speak to michael jordan about this as well. the coast guard responding to a distress call, boaters missing, a family in trouble. but was it real? >> coast guard, coast guard, we are abandoning ship. this is the charmblow, we are abandoning ship. >> we'll have the story, straight ahead. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [ female announcer ] nothing gets you going quite like the power of quaker oats. today is going to be epic. quaker up.
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>> reporter: they sent out numerous boats and aircraft to rescue four people, including two children allegedly on a sinking boat. this was the last radio transmission from the vessel operator. coast guard, coast guard, we are abandoning ship. this is the charmblow. we are abandoning ship. >> is that the voice of a hoaxster? was this whole thing a search that spanned the area the size of west virginia and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars just a prank? the coast guard says it's a possibility. first, the name of the boat, charmblow. don montero is the coast guard sector commander responsible for the search. >> we go through our databases, we went through customs databases. we also went through databases of local law enforcement agencies to search for the vessel, and tried to identify it. >> reporter: and what did you find? >> unfortunately, with we haven't found anything at this point. >> and what about a missing persons report. >> we haven't received any
notifications of any missing persons. >> reporter: is that unusual? >> i haven't experienced that before, so -- >> reporter: this isn't the first time the coast guard has turned up empty on a high-profile search for missing boaters. last may, it searched for six people in the waters off of galveston, texas, after a mayday call from a sinking boat. then a few weeks later, a caller claimed there were three people dead and 20 people in the water off of sandy hook, new jersey. >> we have 21 souls on board, 20 in the water right now. i have three deceased on board, nine injured because of the explosion we've had. >> reporter: authorities later determined the call came from the land and was a hoax. as for the radio transmission in california -- >> coast guard, coast guard, we are abandoning ship. this is the "charm blow," we are abandoning ship. >> reporter: based upon what he was saying over the radio, you thought that was real? >> absolutely. and we treated it as such. we treat every call as it was our own child out there and
we're searching for them. >> reporter: now, making a false distress call is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine, plus the cost of the wasted search effort. in this case, it would be hundreds of thousands of dollars. wolf and kate? >> as well they should get in trouble if they're wasting that time, that turns out to be true. dan simon, great report. thank you. probably seemed like a great idea to see the sights, hundreds of feet in the air in a balloon until disaster struck. up next, we'll have new pictures of the deadly explosion and a closer look at balloon safety. it's lots of things. all waking up. connecting to the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away. we're going to wake the world up. and watch, with eyes wide, as it gets to work.
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air in a hot air balloon over ancient egypt. >> then all of a sudden a gas explosion. this video taken from another balloon shows the blast and the fall. 19 people are dead, two in the hospital, and many people are wondering are these balloon rides safe. brian todd went out to try to find out. >> reporter: wolf, in the wake of the accident in egypt, a lot of questions being asked today about the overall safety of commercial ballooning. well, to answer some of those questions, to get a little more information, we came here to an airstrip in frederick, maryland. this commercial balloonist, patrick smith and his partner are going to show us some safety procedures and talk to us about overall safety of this activity. experienced balloonists say it's rare to have a catastrophic crash like this one in egypt captured on amateur video. when it comes to safety on a commercial balloon flight, patrick smith knows the drill. today, the wind and rain are too
strong for us to go up, but smith takes us through the checks of his tanks, valves, hoses, gauges. it's a powerful burst when he tests out the burners. smith and his family operate a commercial balloon business in frederick, maryland. he says he took up about 260 passengers last year. you're in an emergency, one of these hoses rips off or something and this thing is in peril. how do you get it down quickly? >> i'm going to shut down and secure the situation, then at that point we're going to go ahead and look for the best available landing spot. i'm going to use another tank because i have a redundant system. i will be able to use that other tank to find an acceptable place to land and if i needed to, i'm going to shut down all lines and put myself down in trees, because the basket itself will protect the passengers. >> reporter: another balloonist told us sometimes balloons strike power lines. it tends to occur on descent and it can be deadly. he said electricity from the power line arcs through the balloon, then can punch a hole
in a hose or propane tank, causing an explosion. to minimize the overall risk, don't crowd the passenger basket. this is the envelope for patrick's balloon. this is the basket, 46 by 62 in width, about four feet deep. >> grab on to here. don't grab this bar here. hop on down. >> reporter: how many does this hold safely? >> we can hold legally six passengers. i never carry more than four. >> reporter: but he says there are baskets like the one in egypt that can carry 20 people or more. smith says there's psychology involved with passengers. he has to keep their emotions on an even keel. >> it's a lot of interaction. by the time they go on their flight i have already given them a full safety briefing, they're in the basket and we just put a little more heat in and lift off the ground just like an elevator. >> reporter: he tells passengers if there's an emergency they've got to stop talking and listen to him. bend your knees, he says, grab the handles on the inside, press yourself up against the side of the basket.
smith says unless your basket is on fire and close to the ground, don't jump out. >> the basket is designed to absorb as much of the impact for the passengers. on a normal landing, on a hard landing, on an emergency landing. that's what it's designed for. and it's the best chance that we would have. >> reporter: patrick smith has a lot of contingencies in place in case of emergencies. he has helmets in the basket for people to put on, a fire extinguisher and a chase crew following him wherever he goes. wolf and kate? >> thanks very much. >> scary. >> wonder if they have parachutes, too. >> i don't know the answer to that, actually. jeanne moos next.
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shaq 1, pain 0. [ male announcer ] new icy hot advanced patch with 50% more medicine. pain over. so you go to the airport, you miss your flight, what do you do? jeanne moos has some incredible video. >> reporter: fasten your seat belt. extreme turbulence ahead. a chinese executive traveling with his family missed not one, but two flights and when he, his wife and two sons weren't allowed to board after missing the second flight's boarding announcement, what went flying was computer equipment. >> on this episode of china
un-censored, watch a chinese officials go nuts. >> reporter: watch bystanders back off. get me away from this guy who turned out to be the vice-chairman of a state-run mining company and an advisor on a chinese political committee. not to mention an expert desk kicker, though that might have hurt. he definitely meant to hurt the glass doors leading to the airplane and when he couldn't break through, he slammed the sign on the desk. and just in case the husband may have missed a little something, his wife picked up an object and smashed it on the floor. we haven't seen a rampage like this since the british guy ransacked a t-mobile store because they wouldn't give him a refund, or the drive-through customer who couldn't get chicken mcnuggets because this ohio mcdonald's was serving breakfast. she not only smacked the server, when they finally shut the window on her she managed to smash a hole in it.
the mcnuggets slugger ended up being sentenced to 60 days in jail. she also paid a $1500 fine for damages to the window. the funny thing was that 15 seconds after she broke the window, the next guy through the drive-through was handed his food. the angry t-mobile guy ended up with fans. >> what that guy did, kudos to him. >> reporter: but the air rage ampager has attracted comments like what a contemptible self-important arse. the chinese air traffic system is a hive of delays but there's little sympathy for tantrums by those considered elite. he has been suspended from his job and has already apologized, saying i failed to be a qualified political advisor as well as a good father. one of his sons seemed to try to defuse his dad or at least disarm him, eventually security stepped in. you, sir, are caught on camera. that's no boarding pass,